NIMASA used my account as conduit pipe, says witness

NIMASA used my account as conduit pipe, says witness

Friday, February 5, 2016 7:25 pm

Akin Kuponiyi

 Akpobolokemi: was DG of NIMASA

Akpobolokemi: was DG of NIMASA

A Lagos businessman who is also the managing Director of 02 Services Plus Limited, Mr Emeka Emelano today while being led in evidence by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) prosecuting council Rotimi Oyedepo, told a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos,south west Nigeria how his company was used as a conduit pipe to obtain about N72 million from NIMASA.

Mr Emenalo told the court at the resumed trial of Patrick Akpobolokemi the immediate past Director General of NIMASA—Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency charged by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission—EFCC alongside six others, on counts of allegations of conversion and theft in the tune of N2.6 billion.

Other accused persons who are facing trial with the former NIMASA DG. are: Captain Ezekiel Agaba, Ekene Nwakuche, Governor Juan and three companies, namely Blockz and Stonz Ltd, Kenzo Logistics Ltd and Al-Kenzo Logistic Ltd.

They are standing trial before Justice Ibrahim Buba, and had all pleaded not guilty to the charges preferred against them.

Emelano is the fifth witness for the prosecution.

In his evidence Emenalo told the court that his company specialises in Agro allied services and gets remuneration for its services.

He told the court that sometimes in 2015, his younger brother, Uche Emelano sought to use his company to elicit a contract from NIMASA and the contract would be gotten through the instrumentality of the third accused, Nwakuche. His brother then instructed him to transfer any money paid to his company’s account as would be directed as soon as he is alerted.

Consequently, as soon as he began to receive bank alerts, he informed his brother, who in turn informed the third accused.

On June 18, 2015 he received an alert for N14.2 million and a further alert of N21 million.

On March 15, 2015 he received an alert for N21 million and on May 4, 2015 he received an alert for N16 million.

Thereafter,he was instructed to transfer the monies to bank accounts with beneficiaries named as Blocks and Stonez Ltd and Governor Juan.

However his company did not execute any contract for NIMASA to have necessitated payment of the various funds.

He added that he was also unaware of the nature of the contract for which his brother utilized his company’s account to obtain money from NIMASA.

Emelano emphasised “I did not benefit anything from these monies paid, I only requested that the sum of N300,000 be left in the account to off set bank transfer charges,”

Under cross examination by counsel to the third accused, Mr Lanre Olayinka, the witness stressed that he did not enjoy any benefit from the sums paid into his account.

Olayinka then tendered a statement of account before the witness, and drew his attention to a cheque issued in his name for the sum of N100,000.

Olayinka then posed this question.”Mr Emelano, you claimed you did not benefit from the monies paid into your account, but from the document before you, on March 6, 2015 you issued a cheque in your name for the sum of N100,000.

“If the money left in your account is for bank charges as you claim, how come you issued a cheque for the amount in your name? what was the purpose of the money”.

At this, the witness responded “I took transport ”

The presiding Judge haas adjourned the case to 16 February,2016 for continuation of cross examination of the witness.

In the 22-count charge, the accused were alleged to have converted to their use, a total of N2.6 billion between December 23, 2013 and May 28, 2015.

The offences were said to have contravened the provisions of sections 15 (1), 15 (3), and 18 (a) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2012

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